MP meets with badger vaccine project volunteers
Local MP, Andrew George, will meet with a group of volunteers tomorrow (Thursday 28th March) to discuss plans to set up a badger vaccination project in West Cornwall in a bid to tackle the growing problem of Bovine TB in cattle.
Among those who have been invited to speak at the event are; Professor Rosie Woodroffe, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Zoology and one of the Government’s Independent Scientific Group experts; Alex Raeder of the National Trust who has run a badger vaccine project for the National Trust on their Killerton Estate in Devon; and Cheryl Marriott, a specialist project manager for the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Representatives from FERA (Food and Environment Research Agency – the Government’s agency which is advising Defra on its Bovine TB strategy) will also be consulted.
The meeting will take place at the Penwith Business Centre in Long Rock at 2.30pm and Mr George says it will be an opportunity to explore ways in which those who are opposed to badger culls can assist in looking for an alternative plan in West Cornwall.
Mr George said: “This disease has had a devastating effect on cattle herds in this area for decades. Concerted action is necessary. It is clear that we cannot wait for solutions to arrive from Whitehall. Whatever is done needs to be scientifically sound and evidenced based.
“The badger culling pilots require a 70% cull of the badger population in a given area. When the culling trials were undertaken in West Cornwall about a decade ago, despite strenuous efforts they couldn’t manage to kill more than 50% within the trial area. It is therefore highly unlikely that West Cornwall will ever be identified as an area where the Government’s policy can proceed. Therefore, in the light of that, and for many other reasons, we cannot simply leave this disease to ravage our dairy and beef herds without taking action. Local farmers are at their wits end.
“I am delighted that so many people are prepared to offer to become trained and licensed volunteers to assist in a vaccination project. It certainly won’t be easy and could not proceed without the cooperation and support of local farmers and landowners.”
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